Body Image and the Summer

The summer is a time of fun in the sun, warm (or very hot) weather, beach outings and social events. It is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the company of friends. However, summer is also the season of minimal clothing and bathing suits. This can bring up body image issues for a lot more people than you would think and is the most common time for people to seek treatment for eating disorders.

The media displays an unrealistic expectation for what an attractive body should look like, and this skews so many people’s body image. Skin and bone, photo-shopped models wearing bathing suits and short shorts are usually plastered all over magazines, billboards, weight loss ads and also appear in shows and movies. These images are pretty much everywhere, despite recent pushes to include plus size or body-positive imagery.

This makes many women and men feel somewhat less-than in the summer. It can make people think they need to go on crazy crash diets or insane boot camps, but that’s just not sustainable. Obviously, try to live as healthy a lifestyle that you can, but don’t fall prey to taking extreme measures.

There are some measures you can take that can help:

Working on developing confidence in the body that you have. Find things that you find attractive about yourself and appreciate them. Find models or role models that you can look up to that are similar to you and look good to you. Find clothing that flatters your shape and makes you feel comfortable and confident. Maybe for you, that means getting a really nice one-piece bathing suit in a color or print you love, or rocking a pretty longer skirt or dress. Don’t wear clothes that you need to constantly focus on tugging on and adjusting. Carry yourself confidently. Body language says a lot. When you carry yourself gracefully and confidently people will think you look great!

Whenever issues of body image come up is a great time to improve your relationship with your body. It is not great to try to force it to be something that it will never be. It is great to take care of it and love it the way it is and appreciate all the good things about it. The body is really a miracle. It allows us to walk around, do all or our work and daily tasks. It is beautiful and there are people who will find it attractive.

Stay hydrated in the summer. Higher water loss from sweating in the heat increases your daily water intake requirements. It can also help you control your weight in a healthy, natural way. Water helps keep the body hydrated, detoxify the body, and control appetite. Often, your body can confuse thirst for hunger. Keep a water bottle handy at all times.

Don’t fixate too much on your body and how it looks. As summer kicks off this year, take your mind off of how your body looks or how other people’s bodies look, and focus on all the fun that can be had in this great season. The warm sun or the cool water on your skin and your friends and family are all more deserving of your attention. Don’t let body image issues hold you back from enjoying your favorite summer activities to the fullest and taking full advantage.

Sources

Setliff, Stephanie, MD. “Summertime Brings Warmer Weather-and Body Image Worries.”HealthyWomen. National Women’s Health Resource Center, June 2017. Web. 23 June 2017.

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